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n a statement published on February 22, 2021, a relative of two U.S. citizens detained in Iran on trumped-up charges–Baquer Namazi and his son, Siamak Namazi–called on President Joe Biden to secure their release.

The statement, published on the fifth anniversary of former UNICEF official Baquer Namazi’s arrest in Tehran, noted that both men are struggling to hold on after years of being separated from their family while the family is barely surviving “this nightmare.” The full statement, written by Baquer Namazi’s son, Babak, is printed below.

February 22, 2021

Statement by Babak Namazi
Son of Baquer Namazi and Brother of Siamak Namazi, American Hostages in Iran

It is with the heaviest of hearts that my family and I mark the fifth anniversary of Iran’s arrest of my father, 84-year-old Baquer Namazi. Although he was released after two years from detention due to his critical and failing health, he remains a hostage of Iran. He is banned from leaving the country to reunite with his family and seek the international medical attention he so desperately needs to survive.

In the past five years, he has been robbed of birthday celebrations, holidays, anniversaries, the high school graduation and college acceptance of both of his grandchildren, and the simple joy of spending his retirement years with his family.

It has been five long and unbearable years that my children have been deprived of the unconditional love of their grandfather; my brother – who remains imprisoned – and I from the warm embrace of our loving father; and the world from the contributions of a selfless humanitarian.

My father has instead spent that precious time suffering through horrific prison conditions, human rights violations, and the constant fear for the well-being of my brother Siamak, who himself marked five years as a hostage this past October. It is far more than anyone should be forced to endure, let alone a person of his age, and the toll has been immense. His time as a hostage has caused and exacerbated a variety of severe health conditions, some of which, such as his heart condition and the severe blockages in the major arteries to his brain, threaten to take his life at any moment.

I implore the United States government to do everything in its power to bring my ailing father and brother home, and urge Iran to release my family members. My family cannot survive much more of this nightmare.
SOURCE: Center For Human Rights In Iran

October 18, 2016: Mizan News Agency, a website linked to Iran’s judiciary, reported today that Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi and his father Baquer Namazi have each been sentenced to 10 years in prison. On October 16, the same news agency published a short video showing Siamak Namazi’s arrest as evidence of “America’s humiliation.”

According to Mizan, the two men were convicted of “cooperating with the hostile government of America.” Beyond that, no charges have been officially made public. In April, the Namazis’ lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, told IranWire that he had been denied access to his clients’ case files.
Some hardline media outlets have called the Namazis’ arrest “Iran’s biggest intelligence catch.” Today, the hardline paper Vatan called Siamak Namazi the “kingfish” of a “British-run” network.

Siamak Namazi is the head of strategic planning at Crescent Petroleum, which has its headquarters in the United Arab Emirates. He previously worked as an energy consultant for the Dubai-based Access Consulting Group. He was arrested in October 2015 during a trip to visit his family in Tehran. His 80-year old father, Baquer Namazi, was arrested on February 22, 2016, when he arrived in Iran to visit his imprisoned son.

On the eve of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Baquer Namazi was the provincial governor of Khuzestan. He later worked a representative of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in several African countries.

In February, Fars News Agency, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, published an article reporting that Namazi was arrested in order “to uncover the complex layers of vast financial and intelligence corruption by a network that is associated with the UK and America.” The piece also stated that Baquer is accused of training his son Siamak in “espionage and infiltration and subversion operations.”

According to Fars News, one of the charges against Siamak Namazi was his founding of the “Non-Governmental Mutual Assistance Institute of Iran,” an NGO which it said was involved in organizing the “English-American riots,” a reference to the mass demonstrations that followed Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential election.

Fars Reported that Siamak Namazi had also been charged with membership in, and extensive connections to agencies that are affiliated to the United Nations; connections to Gary Sick (an Iran specialist at Columbia University who served as member of the US National Security Council under presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan), membership of the Gulf/2000 Project (a project Gary Sick directs at Columbia University), close ties to US State Department spokesman Alan E. Eyre and to John D. Sullivan, director of CIPE (the Center for International Private Enterprise) and his connections to the Ford Foundation and NIAC (the National Iranian American Council).”

Tabatabaei told IranWire his client had rejected the charge of cooperation with a hostile government. “According to the Supreme Council of National Security, which responded to an inquiry about this, Iran does not consider the US to be a hostile government,” said Tabatabaei. “A ‘hostile government’ has a clear definition and legally it is the job of the Supreme Council of National Security to define it.”

Now, it seems that the Iranian Judiciary believes that it can decide by itself which government is hostile, and has convicted both men based on its own definition.
Since the Namazis’ arrest, American officials have repeatedly demanded their release. With this sentence, diplomatic efforts to secure their release must enter a new phase.
March 3, 2016 The United Nations Children's Fund said on Thursday it is worried about the health and well-being of one of its former officials, an elderly man jailed in Iran for more than a week.

Baquer Namazi, whose son Siamak has been jailed in Iran since October, was himself arrested on Feb. 22 and taken to Tehran's Evin Prison, his wife said last week on social media. Both the elder Namazi and his son are dual U.S.-Iranian citizens.

Baquer Namazi, a former Iranian provincial governor, served as UNICEF representative in Somalia, Kenya, Egypt and elsewhere before retiring in 1996, UNICEF said in a statement.

"Current and former UNICEF colleagues are deeply concerned about the health and well-being of Baquer Namazi," the statement said. "We hope he will be reunited soon with his wife and loved ones."

Baquer Namazi is 80 years old and has a serious heart and other conditions which require special medication, his wife Effie Namazi said last week.

His son Siamak was most recently working for Crescent Petroleum in the United Arab Emirates, and previously headed a consulting business in Iran.

Iranian officials have not issued formal charges against either man. Friends of Siamak Namazi have said that he may have become a pawn in factional struggles among hardliners, pragmatists and reformers, each with economic and political interests.

Elections in Iran last week strengthened centrists and reformists allied with President Hassan Rouhani, but his scope to permit more social and political freedom is constrained by hardliners' control of the judiciary, security forces and state media.

SOURCE: Reuters

We call upon the international community at all levels to urge the Islamic Republic of Iran to IMMEDIATELY and UNCONDITIONALLY release gravely ill 84-year-old Iranian American retired UNICEF official Baquer Namazi and his son Siamak Namazi.
We especially urge President Biden to act on the Namazi family's plea.

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The Free Iranian American Father & Son Ailing 84-year old Baquer Namazi and Siamak Namazi, Sentenced To 10 Years petition to President Biden, UN, OHCHR, Ahmed Shaheed, EP Parliament, EU, State Department, Amnesty, HRW was written by John S. Burke and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.